Closure of four immigration detention centers welcomed


Refugees and Asylum Seekers

From its formal beginnings our Commission has always strived to promote diversity and offer the gift of hospitality to those who have come to our Diocese seeking a new life.   We were a part of the founding group which established Toowoomba Refugee and Migrant Support (TRAMS) in 2004.  TRAMS is a place of welcome which assists newly arrived people settle into the Toowoomba community.  Hundreds of people are welcomed to TRAMS each month.  A warm and caring group of volunteers run a range of programmes designed to ensure that people can finally call Toowoomba home.  Our Commission has a long record of advocating for human rights for all people claiming asylum in Australia.  We combine research with advocacy and action.  In 2005 our Commission was a part of a group which created a snapshot of Toowoomba's Sudanese community - "Finding a Home on the Range".  This report is available for download below.  In 2009 working with other agencies we are hoping to update this snapshot to gain a greater understanding of the newly emerging refugee background community in Toowoomba.

Christmas 2013 Offering to Support Asylum Seekers


227 K

Sisters of Mercy Insight into PNG PLan





Just Because...Seeing The Wounds: Doubting Thomas Convinced - Mark Copland's weekly column in The Toowoomba Chronicle 


The following organisations advocate for the rights of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Australia. 

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre -

Refugee Council of Australia - 

A Just Australia - 

Right to Work Campaign - 

Amnesty International Australia - Refugees - 

Human Rights Watch Australia - 

If you are interested in being involved in supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Toowoomba community, please contact either Toowoomba Social Justice Commission or TRAMS (Toowoomba Refugee and Migrant Services)

TRAMS Calendar Now Available for just $15

Since 2004 Toowoomba Refugee and Migrant Support has offered welcome and support to people starting a new life in our region.  If you wish to support their fine work and have a 2013 calendar as pride of place in your kitchen, office or living room click here  

African Australians Lend a Hand

Members of Toowoomba’s African community are urging all of their members to support flood relief efforts in any way they can.  This can be through donations or volunteering their time and skills.  This Saturday members of the community will be in Oakey to lend a hand with the clean-up effort.   People from Burundi, the Congo, Liberia and Sudan who now call Toowoomba home will be involved. 

“We are all affected one way or another but happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with the wider community,” stated Akol Mager, local community member.  Mr Charles Kitapindu, Mr Akol Mager and Mr John Mansaray encourage other African Australians to get involved in the relief effort and make donations to the Premiers Disaster Relief Appeal – BSB 064 013  A/C 10006800

For more information or comment contact:

Mr Charles Kitapindu  -  0423255511

Mr Akol Mager    -    0423502215

Mr John Mansaray           - 0403411028

Additional Links and Information

Media Release on Excision of Australia's Borders


Scorecard on the Houston Report


Refugee and Asylum Seeker Policy: A Third Way


NEW Double Disadvantage - How Toowoomba schools embrace new-arrival refugee students


Media Release from Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office Welcoming Change to Asylum Seeker Policy


A Just Australia Background to Policy Shift and Suggestions for Action


Does Off-Shore Processing Really Work?


Groups Demand New Approach to Asylum Seekers and Refugees


A New Approach - Breaking the Stalemate on Refugees and Asylum Seekers - Centre for Policy Development


Church Teaching and Useful Links

The Church has a long tradition of upholding the dignity and human rights of refugees and asylum seekers.  Below you will find links to Church Statements, Teachings and organisations involved in this important task.


Refugees - a Challenge to Solidarity

 (Pontificial Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People)

Australian Catholic Refugee and Migrant Office

Edmund Rice Centre for Social Justice - Deported to Danger  

Ten Essential Facts about Asylum Seekers


Welfare of human beings must outweigh policy decisions says Catholic Migration Office


Refugee and Migrant Sunday


Myths and Facts about African Refugees in Toowoomba


Asylum Seekers and Funerals

In this thought provoking article Andrew Hamilton suggests that our greatest challenge is to change the way Australians imagine asylum seekers as an obstacle to our comfort and to our well-being.  To read more click here 

Go Back to Where You Came From!


Prayer for Southern Sudan


New Detention Centre: A Hard Hearted Response - Bishop Saunders


Who is in the local refugee background community?

Did you know that less than 25 percent of the same population are part of the workforce?  Did you know that nearly half of Toowoomba's Sudanese community survives on nil income or less than $399 a week?   In 2010 Robert Johnson, a student from Latrobe University spent three months researching Toowoomba's refugee background population.    To read some of his findings click below

Background Paper on Refugees and English Language Support in Toowoomba


Prayer for Southern Sudan

Prayer for Peace for Referendum in Southern Sudan

"Lord Jesus, you who said to us: "I leave you peace.  My peace I give you."  Look upon your sisters and brothers in Sudan as they face this moment of referendum. Send them your Spirit to guide them.  Give them the wisdom they need to choose their future where they will know your true peace.

You call them out of slavery, oppression, and persecution so that they may have life in abundance.

Grant them peace with one another. Give peace among ethnic groups.  Help them to work together for the good of all.  We ask this in your name, Jesus our Lord.  Amen.

Mary, Queen of Peace pray for the people of Southern Sudan."

To find out more about the upcoming referendum and be a part of 101 days of prayer click here

Refugees - what we can learn from Syria

Refugees - what we can learn from Syria

The myth of the queue has been thoroughly agitated in recent times, but it still has a strangely compelling grip on a psyche that likes order and formal lines.

Of course, there was no queue to get into Syria. It was a humanitarian flood. But they dealt with it, largely, with complete acceptance of the plight and suffering of those fleeing. Over the past 62 years the dispossessed have helped make Syria a much larger, more agreeable society.  To read more click here

New Lost Boys of Sudan - ABC Foreign Correspondent Tuesday 12th October 2010

Sudan - What Happened Next?

He was a Lost Boy with an incredible story, if only someone could help him tell it to the world. And then as Sudan survivor Valentino Deng found himself in a new and very foreign land he also happened to find acclaimed author Dave Eggers. The result was a searing and moving book that became a publishing sensation and catapulted Deng into the celebrity spotlight. But after ‘What Is The What’, what happened next?  Click here to view this story online.


Of all the people who come to this country, just 3% are boat people. Of these, 90% are found to be genuine refugees (fleeing war or persecution). They represent only 1% of our population growth, and if we processed them onshore, their cost to the Australian taxpayer would be reduced by 75%.  (


World Water Day


To hear some of Akol's story click here

A Just Australia Myths and Facts


A snapshot of refugees and migrants in our region


The Catholic Church celebrates Migrant and Refugee Week between the 24th and 30th August. To find out more about who lives in our region download this document




Refugees and Australia's Response can be purchased thorugh our Commission or the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

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